Pis­ta­chios may re­place daily ap­ple

Re­search shows big ben­e­fits for a hand­ful of lit­tle nuts

Edmonton Journal - - BODY & HEALTH - MARTHA WORBOY

Eat­ing a hand­ful of pis­ta­chios ev­ery day may help heart health, new re­search has found.

The study, pub­lished in The Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Nu­tri­tion, and con­ducted by James N. Cooper of Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity and Michael J. Sheri­dan of Inova Fair­fax Hospi­tal, looked at in­di­vid­u­als with rel­a­tively high choles­terol who re­placed high-fat snacks with pis­ta­chio nuts on a daily ba­sis. When on a diet that in­volved get­ting 15 per cent of daily calo­rie in­take from pis­ta­chios for four weeks — which means snack­ing on one to two hand­fuls a day — sub­jects were found to im­prove blood lipid lev­els.

“Th­ese re­sults are ex­cit­ing be­cause the re­search in­di­cates that adding pis­ta­chios to the daily diet can help pro­tect the heart with­out a dra­matic di­etary lifestyle change,” Cooper said in a state­ment. “This re­search chal­lenges the pre­vi­ously held be­lief that a low-fat diet is best for heart health.”

The ma­jor­ity of the fat in pis­ta­chios is con­sid­ered a “good” fat, mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat, the kind that low­ers blood pres­sure.

“Stud­ies now show that a diet with a mod­er­ate amount of health­ful mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat, like the kind found in pis­ta­chios, is a more ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent heart dis­ease than re­duc­ing over­all fat in­take,” Cooper said.

Pis­ta­chios are also packed full of polyun­sat­u­rated fat, a fat known to low- er blood choles­terol when con­sumed in mod­er­a­tion.

The study adds to a grow­ing body of re­search sug­gest­ing a reg­u­lar in­take of pis­ta­chios can help fight off car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and re­duce choles­terol lev­els.

In the nut fam­ily, pis­ta­chios are thought to be one of the health­i­est, packed with vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents such as thi­amin, vi­ta­min B6, cop­per, man­ganese, po­tas­sium, fiber, phos­pho­rous and mag­ne­sium.

Good news for nut lovers — in­di­vid­u­als on the pis­ta­chio reg­i­men showed no signs of weight gain, sup­port­ing an ad­vanc­ing the­ory that pis­ta­chio nuts do not cause weight gain when added to an ev­ery­day diet.

VAN­COU­VER SUN, CANWEST NEWS SER­VICE

Pis­ta­chios are packed with vi­ta­mins and con­tain healthy fat.

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